Nemosmom, from my reading so far, I’d say Cline wouldn’t distinguish between thrifted and new (she is a big advocate of thrifting and resale sites as a socially responsible ways to put together a wardrobe!). I think she’d argue a higher price point for thrifted/resale might be worth considering if that means better quality item sold in a socially responsible, sustainable way.

I can’t help but wonder if we might be stepping into “check you privilege” territory. One might need 5 tops to make it through a work week and not one, higher quality, sustainable item. Thrifting requires time, also a luxury item for many.
Old motto “Buy best quality you can afford, take good care of you stuff” works for me.

What I was originally unsure about, when I first responded, was where the discussion would go.

I took it that Runcarla was interested in is what would make each of us go above and beyond our normal price limits - not what our normal price limits actually are. I feel there is some bit of defensiveness creeping in from different directions. (MY take - not necessarily true.)

I've been enlightened and ashamed and miffed and many other feelings as I've read through all the responses. Odd!

I haven't read all the replies, but see there's some talk about entitlement and being ashamed..
I am very lucky to now be in the position to spend $600 on one piece of clothing, and still live very very well. I'm in no way ashamed, since when I left a severely(shot at me and then held a gun to my head while 7 months pregnant and more) abusive husband, I fled with my infant daughter a few states away..I then lived in utter poverty, and had about ten pieces of clothing for myself. That included absolutely everything, I had one pair of shorts.
So while I don't go around poor areas strutting my stuff, I feel absolutely wonderful about myself, being able to wear clothes that I never dreamed I would ever have!! So, I've overcome that feeling of oh, this is too expensive to wear around the house or to the store, or it's too fancy. If it makes me feel good, I wear it. As an artist, I really place a lot of importance on how things look, and the details.
I really adore whimsical patterns, heavily embroidered tops, and silk, which sadly only come about at a higher price point. I've tried lower priced brands, only to have the material ball up, or embroidery get shaggy looking, after only one to three wearings!! So I decided, that it's going to be quality over quantity. Easier said than done lol, but I get better at it all the time
As for going over my price point, nothing could make me change it! I have too many other hobbies, and have/want to spend money on them also. So I just can't..So when I see something that's above my price range, I just look lovingly at it for a moment, then move along lol!!
This is a fun topic!! I'm going to go back and read all the replies, so far they've been very very interesting, and even educational.

Jennifer - I hear you absolutely!

We all have our own reasons for whatever we do (fashion and otherwise) and of course I don't expect anyone to feel the need to justify whatever choice they make.

I didn't study hard and bust ass and put up with a lot of crapola and abandon dreams and work hard for 30 years and THEN deal with severe health issues for nothing. I'll spend what I want to spend on what I want to spend it on. (And that's just the kind of response I didn't want to make at the beginning of this thread.) Ugh. Guess I was just raised to feel guilty

I was wondering if it would be instructive for Runcarla to chime back in as to whether all our various musings have helped her to change her limits?
It feels to me like most of us have already formulated what we do personally and have given our reasons?

Whoops, I didn’t intend to send this thread off the rails!

I just thought that Cline’s perspective on price points was interesting in the context of her thinking about ethical, sustainable fashion. I think we all agree that that price points, wardrobe sizes, and ethical positions are totally up to the individual. What Cline’s book is doing for me is making me think about my own ways of accumulating—and, more importantly, disposing—of my clothes.


Carla’s original question was

Do you take a ‘pass’ on an item if the price is beyond a certain price point? What would motivate you to move your price point? What would inspire you to ‘splurge’ on something?

I will admit that Cline’s book is now making me think harder about price points in the context of sustainability instead of just taking an automatic negative pass when I see a higher price tag. Environmental and social concerns about the fashion industry could motivate me to move my price point.

Jenni- I think you are right. We probably don’t change our minds easily - and I am sure some people could read this thread and be frustrated by a $300 item and the privilege of this, or the time to secure special pieces. Conversely others may see ongoing $30 purchases as not ideal either.

I am okay with veering into slightly uncomfortable topics because it makes me more open minded, and I like to see perspectives from others younger, older, with different cultures and interests. And people here communicate clearly and almost always respectfully.

We are all different - and that is what I like about a forum.

Topics about money are sensitive - and I think the thread has gone in various directions away from Carla’s original question (as they do!)

I was hoping that we all will stay away from articulating amounts of money, from an actual number one pays for x item. I understood the intention as more of an analytical nature, more about one’s approach to a price point. This way we all can discuss our individual opinions without guilt/envy or feeling appalled or uncomfortable.
Environmental and social concerns motivate us to re-think our price points as much as geography, economic stability and employment.
I would love to hear forum members’ thoughts on sustainability in fashion but it might be a topic for another post.

I would like to apologise for talking numbers - I was the first to do so. And my numbers don’t mean anything to most anyway because of my location. I think it was unnecessary - I could have made my point another way.

@ Jenni NZ - I have enough feedback to help me with my decisions about price points, but I will need to stew on it a little longer. I was actually looking for suggestions that were tangible or ‘measurable’ in some way - along the lines of what constitutes quality, sustainability, etc vs things that are more subjective such as ‘am I worth it.’ @ Sloper has it right in her post 4 hrs ago - what would motivate you to go above your price point for any item (vs what your actual price points are.) It’s a tricky topic.

No worries, and lots of interesting food for thought.

Ah. In that case, Carla, my answer is Thoughtfulness of Construction. I say this rather than quality or durability or refinement or fineness or design for a variety of reasons. Beauty and utility *to me* are also requirements, but it’s Thoughtfulness that I believe, upon reflection, is what will push me past my norm. Little details that make something more comfortable, more durable, more fine, more respectful of what the materials can and cannot do, etc. There’s a three hundred dollar rolling pin at the bakery - an astounding price for plastic - that everyone fights over … it’s quite long and quite hefty and easier to clean. Unusually well considered. Makes the perfect croissant.

I remembered paying over $300 (NZ) for a dress once. It was when returning to work and it was an organic merino dress that I thought would last me through seasons and sizes. So I will go over my price point if I think I have found a workhorse that will take the place of others fulfill many places in the wardrobe. It wasn't as versatile as I imagined but I did wear it for a while.

Tangible things for me that might warrant a higher price point would include:
  • design and construction - great, tight, straight, tonal stitching, with no loose threads... interior pockets on outerwear or skirts;
  • fabric composition - preference for natural fabrics over synthetics so I don't add pollution to the water when I wash;
  • fabric source - organic cotton or sustainably and ethically sourced fibres (e.g., recycled PET shoes or mulesing-free wool);
  • repairability - can a shoe be re-soled or can a piece of knitwear darned or de-pilled;
  • warrantied - does the maker offer any kind of quality assurance? E.g., Darn Tough socks and Sheep, Inc. sweaters are guaranteed against wear for life. If they get holes, the company offers to replace them.
  • hardware - things like sturdy zippers in a finish that won't peel off... feet on the bottom of a tote bag... or included "extras" like extra yarn for repairing sweater... extra buttons included with a jacket...

Well, I have to admit that it might be a brand recognition for me. I’m more inclined to pay higher price for a brand whose quality I know from my positive experience with them.

Irina your post about white shirts in another thread made me remember the brand I bought the one and only white shirt I have from. I tend to have a soft spot for these artisanal brands. The fact that they use quality fabrics and hopefully pay their local sewers a living wage, I am willing to splurge a little, so putting it in this thread about price points and why we sometimes pay a bit more. The white cotton shirt I bought from them about 6 or so years ago...?... is going strong, I just love it.

Great thread. For shoes, I go over my price point for supreme comfort plus style because my feet are so, so picky. So I guess that means my price point has risen?

For anything else, if I know it’s made well (construction, nice fabric, etc.) and that I will keep it for years, I would be motivated to go higher than normal. Also, at this point in my life, the item would have to be able to accommodate weight fluctuations.

I was searching for reviews on the aritizia babaton coat when I came across this article. Her comments on decision making/price point really resonate with me. I have found, what I thought was the perfect item usually a HEWI, and balked at the cost even if it ticked off every box. On many ocassions I bought a lesser item, was unhappy, only to eventually cave and buy the item I really wanted or live with regret. I found settling, because I keepy my things for a long, long time, is not always the most cost effective strategy. OTOH there are things I adore and covet which I would either not be comfortable owning or are simply out of my price range. On those, I've typically decided not to try and reference at a lower price point because I tend not to be happy. It's always second rate. I try and find an item, I can afford, that ticks the boxes completely albeit in a different way (I'm looking at you Chanel Boy Bag - I'm simply a Coach girl. But I can admire from afar) But I agree, for me, if the perfect item is available even if I must save and plan for it, I am better served by getting the one thing I will enjoy them a more reasonable alternative that does not compare.

@ gryffin - that coat (actually a new winter dress coat) is exactly the reason I started this thread. The article you linked too articulates 100% what I’m going through. Thanks for the link!

Wow - gryffin - thanks for the intro to an interesting blog/instagram ! I love her aesthetic - and also her point about not settling .

Yes sometimes it's better to buy just the right thing the first time, sticker shock or no, for that reason.
But I've also bought my share of high-to-me things (not just clothes) and they don't always work out right in the long term.
A really good purchase can be "cheap as chips" or splurge, or anything in between.

Suntiger I so agree. The JCrew Jackie shell, danskin or Nirlon leggings are best in class but inexpensive especially one sale. But nothing is a bargain if you don't love it and feel you've settled. I agree splurge doesn't guarantee value. But when it's perfect and exactly the right piece, but at a higher price point that we might want to pay, sometimes that can be the better choice. Yes Lisa don't she look fabulous. I love her style and her attitude. Runcarla I think that's exactly the same place I'm at now mentally. You just want to make sure the money is well spent for value, function, aesthetic and joy, that's the tricky part.

I got my desigual backpack to test out whether I actually like carrying one as much as I expected before spending big (for me) on the Kate Spade one I’d fallen in love with. I did indeed enjoy it, so Santa dropped off the KS. Surprisingly, I carried on with the desigual, using it more than the KS for the first year. These days I probably carry them equally, according to mood. The new backpack for my birthday, that attaches to a bike rack, is bigger than the first two, and close to the desigual in price. In short, buying a less expensive option isn’t always “settling” and can work out quite well. But if I don’t feel completely at home in a thing, at any price point, I don’t think it’s a good deal.

Iow, for me, a better fit—in all ways, including colors, materials, how well made a thing is, etc—can justify a higher price, but a lower price doesn’t justify a reduction in fit. If I can’t find what I want at a lower price—organic cotton, for example—I accept that I may need to look at more expensive items. I keep a large enough wardrobe that I won’t go naked while I’m looking.

Thanks to Runcarla for starting this thread and to everyone for the thoughtful replies. It was well worth reading them.

I think my answer is definitely about pleasure, like Gaylene’s response, but perhaps more self-centered, if I’m honest. I budget a lot for clothing for someone who already has what she needs - shopping and fashion are about feeling good.

So I don’t have a limit (IF it fits in the overall budget) for particular items. I can see spending quite a lot on a t-shirt or buying premium denim, if it makes me feel fantastic, for example. It’s more of a, do I love this enough to use up my clothing budget equation.

Feeling great in my clothes, like quality, doesn’t always correspond with price, however. And I don’t need the best quality to feel good (though very cheaply made clothes don’t do it for me).

As a sometimes big spender, I have a tendency to fall for design, as in the actual visual aesthetic.
So yeah I've spent some big bucks. But like some above (lost track of who said what), those that I sold (due to weight gain) I was able to recoup some of the money.
Now, I try to look towards smaller designers, or at least the ones that are size inclusive. I'm very happy with my Rachel Comey shorts, which are well made and made in NYC.
But overall my shopping has decreased significantly due to pandemic and taking care of Dad. I have almost no reason to dress up at all now.

This thread got started while I was on vacation, and I haven't read all the replies, so apologies if my response is repetitive or not very nuanced.

I'm someone whose price point has increased somewhat significantly in the decade or so since I started reading YLF. Some of that is certainly due to income and circumstances, but I also buy a lot fewer items per year than I used to, so my budget hasn't gone up as significantly as my price point has.

Along with a lot of books/articles on the issues with fast fashion and the challenges of sustainable manufacturing, two articles have impacted my thinking on price recently. The first was this one about having a minimum price point, which I started a thread about here eons ago. This argument resonated with me, "Our brain weighs the pleasure of acquiring against the pain of paying. As clothing prices decline, that pain does too, making shopping easy entertainment, disconnecting it from our actual clothing needs. [...]To restore that balance, the price of the clothing we consider purchasing should be high enough that it “hurts” at least a little."

Shopping at a higher price point became a psychological trick I played on myself as a way of forcing myself to make more considered purchases.

That led to a discovery that many of my more considered, higher-priced purchases fit better, hung better, looked better, and felt better than lower-priced purchases. They did NOT always last longer. It made parts of this second article about wardrobe tracking speak to me, specifically the authors realization about what quality meant to him:
"This brings up the obvious point that quality is not limited to, and cannot be measured solely by, durability. In my personal view, the expensive shirts are of higher quality in many regards. This means each wear provides a more valuable subjective experience (better materials, style and cut, details, brand, etc.), which may justify the difference in CPW. [...] I now know the monetary cost of my preference for quality, and I am happy to pay it."

I'm settling into the notion that, while paying a higher price very well may decrease my cost-per-wear, it might not, and there are other factors (fabric quality/drape/handfeel, sustainable manufacture, fit, finish, etc) that make higher-priced garments feel worth it.

So to summarize...I pay a lot more per item now than I did when starting YLF. Though that started from a baseline of wanting to consume less but not needing to change my budget, paying more led me to discovering the benefits of higher-priced purchases. I'm now thrilled that my altered price-point allows me to access a wider range of sustainable, quality garments than I was able to consider when spending less per piece.

I’m glad you chimed in Jenn. ‘My budget hasn’t gone up as my price point has’. That is where I want to go.

Great post Jenn, definite food for thought!

I agree with that Jenn!